A WINSFORD woman has blasted the ‘imbecilic disrespect’ of thieves who stole a First World War commemoration candle from her front garden.

Pat and Adrian Sandbach of Hilltop Avenue were among millions across the UK who turned out their lights and lit a flame between 10-11pm on August 4 to mark the centenary of Britain’s entry into the conflict.

But in the sixty minutes it took to pay their respects and tune into a moving TV service, someone had entered their garden and stolen the candle and its silver holder.

“I just can’t believe the lack of respect it shows. To think that we’ve taken time to honour the moment and then this happens,” said Pat, 56.

“I’m angry that some imbecile has walked past – with no idea about the occasion and what’s going on – and thought: ‘Oh, I could nick that and sell it for money’.

“Well, they’re in for a shock – it’s silver plated. I bought it for 50p.

“But then they’ve probably realised that and used it smash someone’s car windscreen by now.”

As well as remembering the 17 million soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the First World War, the candle was also a close personal reminder of Pat’s family ties to the armed forces.

While her grandparents lived through the turmoil of 1914-18, her father, Stanley, was an aeroplane engineer in France during the Second World War.

It was there met Pat’s mother, Patricia, who was a member of the morale-boosting ENSA, whose members included Gracie Fields and George Formby; keeping troops entertained while far from home.

The Lights Out ceremony was inspired by former Foreigh Secretary, Edward Grey, who said on the eve Britain’s mobilisation that ‘the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

Anyone with information on the theft should call the Cheshire Police non emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.